Monday, July 15, 2019

John Malveaux: Julia Bullock, currently The Met Museum’s artist in residence

Julia Bullock

John Malveaux of 

NYC-ARTS Profile: Julia Bullock

Clip: Season 2019 Episode 424 | 11m 48s

A profile of soprano Julia Bullock, currently The Met Museum’s artist in residence. Known for her rich voice and versatile artistry, she is approaching the museum’s collection as both a musician and an activist.   

Alfred Walker in Korngold's "The Miracle of Heliane" at Bard SummerScape from July 26

Alfred Walker, Bass-Baritone

Opera at Bard SummerScape 2019

Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897–1957)
The Miracle of Heliane (American premiere; new production)

Libretto by Hans Müller-Einigen, after “The Saint” by Hans Kaltneker
Sung in German with English supertitles

American Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Leon Botstein, music director
Directed by Christian Räth
Bard Festival Chorale

Set and costume designer: Esther Bialas

Lighting designer: Thomas Hase
Projection designer: Elaine McCarthy
Movement Director: Catherine Galasso

Heliane: Ausrine Stundyte, soprano
Ruler: Alfred Walker, bass-baritone
Stranger: Daniel Brenna, tenor
Messenger: Jennifer Feinstein, mezzo-soprano
Porter: Nicholas Brownlee, bass-baritone
Blind Judge: David Cangelosi, tenor
Judge No. 1: Derek Taylor, tenor
Judge No. 2: Nathan Berg, bass-baritone
Judge No. 3: Scott Conner, bass
Judge No. 4: Richard Troxell, tenor
Judge No. 5: Michael Hawk, tenor
Judge No. 6: Kevin Thompson, bass

Sosnoff Theater
July 26* at 7:30pm
July 28* at 2pm
July 31 at 2pm
August 2* at 4pm
August 4* at 2pm

Tickets start at $25

Opening Night Reception for Members
July 26

Opera Talk with Leon Botstein
July 28 at 12pm

Free and open to the public

Baltimore Sun: William Benjamin Ray Sr., opera star, civil rights activist dies at 94

William Benjamin Ray, Sr. (1925-2019)

Prof. Kehembe V. Eichelberger sends this obituary:

Baltimore Sun

July 14, 2019

By Colin Campbell

William Benjamin Ray Sr., opera star, civil rights activist, former Peabody Conservatory professor, dies at 94

William Benjamin Ray Sr., a renowned opera singer and civil rights activist who left the Jim Crow South for Europe, where he compiled a stellar, 25-year performing career before moving to Maryland to teach young vocalists at the Peabody Conservatory and Howard University, died of congestive heart failure at the Gilchrist Center Howard County in Columbia on July 3.
The longtime Odenton resident was 94, according to his son, Alexander Ray of San Jose, California.
A rich baritone who was fluent in German, Italian and French, Mr. Ray starred in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Rigoletto” and many other productions, which led to television acting roles and music recording contracts. While catering to audiences unaccustomed to seeing African-American performers in European opera houses, Mr. Ray sometimes performed in whiteface.
In 1974, he founded Black Theater Productions, which put on sketches highlighting racial prejudice and the dismal treatment of minorities, in Stuttgart, Germany. Twenty-three years later, the gregarious performer received the National Opera Association’s “Lift Every Voice” Legacy Award, honoring the contributions of African American Artists to opera.
“My dream didn’t seem very realistic,” Mr. Ray told The Baltimore Sun in 2007. “I’m sure everyone was thinking, ‘Poor thing, how can he possibly think that he could be an opera singer?’”
William Benjamin Ray Sr. was born April 10, 1925 in Lexington, Kentucky, the middle child of Mason Ray, a milkman and horse trainer, and Beatrice Smith, a homemaker.
He grew up singing, beginning at age 6, at the First Baptist Church of Lexington, Kentucky, and graduated from Dunbar High School there in 1943.
Harlowe Dean, a teacher from Boston, offered to coach Mr. Ray after hearing him in church, even though the notion of a white musician teaching a black singer was unpopular among many at the time. Mr. Ray credited Mr. Dean with being instrumental in his development as a singer.
Mr. Ray was drafted into the U.S. Army after high school and served in the 375th Engineering General Services Regiment in Germany. He received the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, Excellent Marksmanship and other awards before being honorably discharged in 1946, according to his son.
Upon his return to Kentucky, he attended Kentucky State University for two semesters, until one of his music teachers encouraged him to apply to a conservatory: “With that voice, they’ll offer you a scholarship,” Mr. Ray recalled in The Sun’s previous report.
He attended Oberlin College Music Conservatory in Ohio, where he met his wife of 64 years, Carrie Kellogg, an accomplished musician and soprano. The two married in 1949, the year Mr. Ray finished his undergraduate degree.
Continuing his training under Daniel Harris of the Metropolitan Opera, Mr. Ray was a soloist with the De Paur Infantry Chorus and eventually performed at Cleveland’s Karamu House, the oldest African American theater in the U.S., where he got his big break.
An agent from Vienna, Austria, was so impressed by the baritone’s performance of Puccini’s “Il Tabarro” at Karamu House in 1956, that he offered him a role as King Balthazar in a production of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” at the Vienna Opera House.
Perpetually high-spirited, with a good sense of humor and a love of travel, Mr. Ray took a chance, his son said.
“He really considered himself a citizen of the world," Mr. Ray said. "It was a bit of a leap, but he took that leap.”
It paid off. Mr. Ray became the leading baritone at the Cuvilliés Theater in Munich and the Frankfurt Opera, and appeared in 14 different German-language roles on stage and on German and Austrian television.
While touring, he earned his master’s degree in education from the Heidelberg University, Germany, in 1982. Nearing retirement from performing, Mr. Ray took a job as a professor of voice at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and moved back to the U.S., settling with his wife in Odenton.

Saturday, July 13, 2019 Kofi Boakye To Play One Last Concert in Akron Before Moving to Boston

Kofi Boakye


Posted By on Fri, Jul 12, 2019

On Aug. 9, Akron pianist Kofi Boakye will headline his final Akron concert before heading to Berklee School of Music in Boston. 

The 19-year-old Emmy-nominated pianist will perform at the Trailhead in North Akron. 

A real prodigy, Boakye was accepted into the University of Akron School of Music’s Jazz Program at age 15, making him the youngest African-American pianist to ever be accepted into a collegiate-level jazz program at the University. And in 2016, Boakye performed at the Akron Civic Theatre, making him the first teen pianist to ever headline that venue. Boakye has toured Germany and Prague with the Miller South Show Choir, and in 2014, President Barack Obama gave him the President’s Education Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence.                                                        Rachel Barton Pine To Perform In Cooperstown [NY] Aug. 11

Rachel Barton Pine

Jul 12, 2019

Violinist Rachel Barton Pine, a virtuosic performer known for groundbreaking programming, will perform in Cooperstown on Sunday, August 11 at 4:00pm at The Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown.

Pine will present a classical recital celebrating the violin's American folk music roots, offering a program prominently featuring works by African-American composers. The performance, sponsored by WAMC, is presented by the Cooperstown Summer Music Festival in conjunction with the Fenimore Art Museum.

The concert is an ambitious tour of American music-making throughout history through the prism of the violin. The program will begin with a beloved Bach Partita and European dance music of the early American settlers, and will lead the audience through classical music influenced by blues, spirituals, and even hip hop before concluding with Vieuxtemps' thrillingly virtuosic variations on "Yankee Doodle."

Four of the featured composers are celebrated fiddlers: Mark O'Connor, Darol Anger, Bruce Molsky, and David Wallace. "Each has composed infectious concert music blending classical and American traditional music, blurring the line between the violin and the fiddle," says Pine.

In constructing this program, one of Pine's goals was to give the audience the proper context to appreciate the massive contribution of Black musicians to what we understand as American music. Throughout the concert program, the music early settlers brought from Europe "transforms into a uniquely American style thanks to the influence of African-American music-making," says Pine. The prominent inclusion of works by Black composers - among them Noel da Costa, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, and Daniel Bernard Roumain - is part of a broader series of initiatives spearheaded by Pine to place Black classical composers and much of their previously overlooked music into today's cultural consciousness.

The Cooperstown program is ambitious and stylistically far-reaching and places tremendous demands on the performer, and Pine is perhaps singularly equipped to deliver. She has been described as an "exciting, boundary-defying performer" by the Washington Post; David Wallace, who wrote one of the pieces featured on the program for Pine, has said that she is "truly one of the few violinists who can navigate so many diverse styles and genres equally well."

Friday, July 12, 2019

Simone Moore Returns to the Stage in Gunshot Medley at the Rogue Machine Theatre

TV, film and theatre actress stars in this lyrical and mystical new play about the struggles against systemic racism in America

LOS ANGELES – July 12, 2019 – Simone Moore, Jamaican born actress, writer and artist, will join the cast of Gunshot Medley at the Rogue Machine Theatre from August 2 through August 11. The stage play is a soulful tale about the deep-seated racial tensions that have stained America's history.
Simone, who can be seen on the HBO series Random Acts of Flyness, will star as Betty – a slave trapped in the underworld of the dead. The actress has also appeared in Boston Legal, Cold Case, Without A Trace and the hit sitcom All of Us. Her theatre performances include Hamlet, In the Footprint with The Civilians Theater Company in New York City and her role as Sylvia in the Two Gentlemen of Verona, which received favorable reviews from the Los Angeles Times.
“I’m so thrilled to be a part of Gunshot Medley and to work with such a talented cast and director, Desean Kevin Terry,” says Simone Moore. “It’s important that we tell these stories about our life in America, so we can understand ourselves better. Along with our rich black history, we have a 400-year-old slave past, which colors every aspect of our present daily lives.”
Gunshot Medley is set in a haunted North Carolina graveyard and addresses the struggles against systemic racism. The play is also a co-production with Collaborative Artists Bloc, and tickets are available at The theatre is located at 1416 Electric Avenue in Venice.

Simone Moore is an actress, writer and artist who was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica and raised in Brooklyn, New York. In addition to numerous theatre performances, Simone has appeared in hit television series such as Boston Legal, Cold Case, Without A Trace and All of Us. In 2009, she starred alongside Cybill Shepard in the movie, Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith. Simone received her MFA from the University of California at San Diego, where she studied under master teachers and directors such as Des McAnuff, Tina Landau, Fiona Shaw, Darko Tresnjak and Lisa Harrow of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Simone continued her studies at the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, France. She can be seen on the HBO series Random Acts of Flyness, which was renewed for a second season. To learn more about Simone, visit

Lil Rel Howery Will Kick-Off the 90th Annual Bud Billiken® Parade as the Grand Marshal

Actor and Comedian Lil Rel Howery Will Kick-Off the 90th Annual Bud Billiken® Parade as the Grand Marshal

(Chicago) On Saturday, August 10, 2019, kicking off at 10:00 am, the streets of Bronzeville will be a vision of history. Thousands of people will be lined up along the historical route of Martin Luther King Drive, attending the country's largest and longest-running African American parade. To mark this extraordinary milestone, comedian and actor, Lil Rel Howery will serve as the Grand Marshal for this historic moment.   

As the official Grand Marshal, Howery says, "I am excited and honored to be chosen as this year's Grand Marshal at the Bud Billiken™ Parade," said Howery. "I've attended and watched this parade on television with my entire family since I can remember. I've accomplished some amazing things in my career, but to be part of this amazing back-to-school tradition is on top of the list. I love my city so much, and to have a chance to see all those amazing young faces in the crowd will me make me so happy."

As a Chicago native, Howery grew up on the Westside where he graduated from Richard T. Crane High School and later went on to pursue a successful career as a comedian, actor-writer and producer. He starred opposite Sandra Bullock in the Netflix hit, BIRD BOX. His latest film, BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON, won the Audience Award at Sundance. His breakout role as TSA agent Rod Williams in the Oscar-winning GET OUT, ushered Howery into superstar status. He starred in, and executive produced his own sitcom on Fox, self-titled, "Rel." Up next Lil Rel Howery will be starring opposite Ryan Reynolds in FREE GUY, Angry Birds, Bad Trip and starring opposite Issa Rae in THE PHOTOGRAPH. 

A host of notable Chicagoans will join Howery as special guests and Honorary Marshals, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot; four-time Grammy nominated artist, BJ The Chicago Kid; Che “Rhymefest” Smith, Chicago hip hop artist, philanthropist, and humanitarian; HGTV’s The Downing Brothers (Anthony and Anton Downing); Tom Joyner, Radio Host and Founder of Reach Media; Chairman and CEO of Central City Productions, Inc., Don Jackson; Monica Haslip, executive director of Little Black Pearl; Arthur Robertson, founder and executive director of South Shore Drill Team; Terisa Griffin, R&B recording artist and philanthropist; Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State and Erika Bracey, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

The theme for the Bud Billiken Parade this year is Celebrating "90 Years of Excellence" the Bud Billiken Parade enters another year of festivities showcasing some of the best youthful talents around the world. Since 1929 the parade has attracted public dignitaries from President Truman, then-Senator Barack Obama, numerous mayors; musical stars, James Brown, The Supremes, Muhammad Ali to Chance the Rapper and countless film and televisions stars. One of the few remaining Black legacies, the Bud Billiken Parade is excited to carry the torch into nine decades of celebrating 'community, service, education and social, economic empowerment.' 

ABC 7 Chicago will broadcast the parade live, with Bronzeville Life as the official parade media sponsor, a Chicago Defender Charities, Inc. publication, founded by Bud Billiken Parade Chair, Myiti Sengstacke-Rice.

"This year marks the Bud Billiken Parade's 90th anniversary," said Myiti Sengstacke-Rice, President and CEO of the parade and Chicago Defender Charities. "That's 90 years of family reunions, nine decades of uplifting our youth, and nearly a century of the tradition that continues to instill the values of education, heritage, and community. I am immensely grateful to carry on this legacy as the fourth generation in my family to run the Bud Billiken™ Parade." 

In keeping with tradition, the parade will run in conjunction with the "It Takes A Village" Family Fair in Washington Park, behind Walter H. Dyett High School for the Arts. The fair will serve as a family-oriented back-to-school event with activities for all ages—including school supply giveaways, games, educational resources, entertainment along with free haircuts and hair braiding for young attendees. 

The fair activities will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m.

About the Bud Billiken® Parade
The Bud Billiken® Parade, founded by "The Father of Black Journalism" Robert Sengstacke Abbott in 1929, is the largest African American parade in the United States. With education as its founding value, the parade takes place at the close of summer, ensuring that Bud Billiken® kicks off the school year with high energy and enthusiasm. The parade highlights include contests featuring categories in Best Drill Team, Best Dance Team, Best Marching Band and Cheerleading Squad. At the close of the parade, all attendees are welcomed to join in the post-parade festivities in Washington Park.

For more information please visit 

Thursday, July 11, 2019 Spirited Performances of Eleanor Alberga’s String Quartets

I Care If You Listen

Ensemble Arcadiana Gives Spirited Performances of Eleanor Alberga’s String Quartets

THIS MONDAY - Imani Winds Performs Opening Concert for the 9th Annual IWCMF

Imani Winds in Concert

Kick off to the 9th Annual
Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival

THIS Monday, July 15th - 7pm

Mannes School of Music
55 West 13th St. New York, NY
Stiefel Concert Hall
FREE ADMISSION with Suggested Donation $20


Monday, July 15, 7pm - Opening Concert - Imani Winds
Saturday, July 20, 7:30pm - Akropolis Quintet, with special guest, IW's bassoonist Monica Ellis
Monday, July 22, 8pm - Port Mande (IW's clarinetist, Mark Dover and pianist, Jeremy Jordan)
Wednesday, July 24, 7:30pm - Visionaries, Composers of NOW!
Thursday, July 25, 7pm - Closing Concert - Chamber Music Celebration

*All concerts are FREE with a suggested donation of $20,
open to the public & are at Mannes School of Music.

BE AN AUDITOR and observe workshops, seminars and masterclasses!
Visit the festival website to learn more.
Email to register. 

Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival is an intense 11 day summer program devoted to performance excellence and career development. With over 50 participants, the Festival is held at
Mannes School of Music at The New School, the official 2019 IWCMF partner.

You Make The Difference!

Consider a tax deductible donation to the newly formed
IWCMF is a sponsored project of the Imani Winds Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Your contribution directly 

provides festival participants
much needed scholarships.

Make a TAX-DEDUCTIBLE contribution in two ways:
-Via credit or debit card, by clicking HERE
-Via personal check, payable to IMANI WINDS FOUNDATION and sent to:

Imani Winds, 123 West 128th Street, New York, NY 10027
 Thank you! Bass-Baritone Ryan Speedo Green in Tanglewood Gala: Verdi's Requiem July 13

Ryan Speedo Green

The Boston Symphony Orchestra

Tanglewood Gala: Verdi's Requiem

July 13, 8PM
Koussevitzky Music Shed Lenox MA

Andris Nelsons, conductor
Kristine Opolais, soprano
Oksana Volkova, mezzo-soprano
Jonathan Tetelman, tenor
Ryan Speedo Green, bass-baritone
Tanglewood Festival Chorus,
     James Burton, conductor


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Mixtroz Founders and Software Making Waves at Essence Festival Events

“We were absolutely thrilled to be part of this legendary festival,” says Kerry Schrader, Co-Founder and CEO of Mixtroz. “The cause of helping black women in business, especially tech startups, is near and dear to our hearts, and this is the perfect platform to spread that message.”

Both events also included activations where the Mixtroz software was used to facilitate effective face-to-face networking while gathering important data for the organizers. Ashlee Ammons, President of Mixtroz adds: “A mix creates meaningful connections and community and we are ecstatic to have been able to demonstrate its ease and effectiveness within the context of this amazing festival.”

About Mixtroz
Founded by mother-daughter duo Kerry Schrader and Ashlee Ammons in 2015, Mixtroz is a tech startup that creates community anywhere 50 or more people are gathered using the power of technology coupled with face-to-face engagement.

In May 2018, the duo won an $100,000 investment from Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest® tour, which kicked off their now fully funded $1 million seed round. Impressed by the city’s progressive and inclusive approach to startups, Mixtroz has relocated its headquarters to Birmingham, Alabama. Learn more at

Sergio Mims: Jonathon Heyward to conduct performance of Leningrad Symphony

Jonathon Heyward

Sergio A. Mims writes:

Due to doctor's orders conductor Sir Mark Elder is taking a sabbatical for a month and dropped out of his scheduled performance of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7 with the Hallé Orchestra for which he has been the music director  since 2000.

In his place the orchestra's assistant conductor Jonathon Heyward will take his place to conduct the concert. In a press statement, Sir Elder said that:

Message from the Hallé Orchestra music director:
"I am very sorry to have to announce that I will be unable to conduct my wonderful orchestra at Thursday’s performance of the Leningrad Symphony. After a period of very painful problems with my neck, and after consulting several doctors and undergoing scans and procedures, I have been advised not to conduct for the next month."
"While I am extremely sorry not to be able to perform this extraordinary work, I am delighted that, at very short notice, Jonathon Heyward, the Hallé’s Assistant Conductor, will conduct the Hallé. Jonathon is at the start of a brilliant career, having already achieved significant international success: winning a major European conducting competition prior to taking up his post at the Hallé, and recently being designated Chief Conductor of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Germany."

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater Welcomes Guest Instructor Terence M. Greene

Summer Guest Artists: Terence M. Greene
Theater presents its 
annual Summer Dance 
Intensive, which 
provides a rigorous 
curriculum fostering 
learning and 
personal growth, 
along with 
opportunities to 
experience the 
repertoire through 
workshops and 
performances. The 
programs Pre-
Division for ages 
16 and older and 
the Youth program 
(ages 13–15) 
learn technique and 
DRDT repertoire.

Terence M. Greene, graduate 

of CSA and one of two SDI 
guest instructors, has 
studied with Karamu House, 
Alvin Ailey American Dance 
Center, Cleveland Ballet, 
Chuck Davis Dance 
Theater, Dayton 
Contemporary Dance 
Company and the Dayton 
Ballet. He has trained 
with Linda Thomas Jones, 
Joan Peters, Hope 
Clark, Donald McKayle, 
Ulysses Dove, Mike Malone, 
Jeraldyne Blunden, Kevin 
Ward, Walter Raines, 
James Truitte, Leslie 
Braswell, Dawn Wood, 
Donald Byrd, Pearl 
Primus and Reggie Kelly, 
to name a few. He has 
performed professionally 
in Dreamgirls, Jesus 
Christ Superstar, Black 
Nativity, Show Boat
The Merry Widow, Carousel 
and The Comedy of Errors 
at Great Lakes Theater 
Festival. Combining a love 
for choreography and 
teaching young people, 
he has worked with 
Cleveland School of the 
Arts, Colonel White 
School of Performing 
Arts, Wittenberg 
Dance Ensemble, 
Howard University 
Children’s Theater, 
Purdue University, 
Valencia College, 
Kappa School of 
Performing Arts, 
Dancing Wheels, 
Reed Summer 
Association of 
Blacks in Dance 
Conference,  The 
Color Museum, 
Greene Medcalf 
Movement, August 
Wilson Dance 
Theater, Strivers 
School of Performing 
Arts, Verb Ballet, 
American Dance 
Festival in North 
Carolina, Ballet 
Tech, Ballet 
Performing Arts 
Association as well 
as the Folk Dance 
Festivals in China, 
Korea, Russia, 
Poland and 
Germany. He has 
worked with 
choreographers Eleo 
Pomare, Dianne 
McIntyre, Ronald K. 
Brown, Debbie 
Talley Beatty, 
Shapiro and Smith, 
Dwight Roden, 
Desmond Richmond, 
Kevin Iega Jeff 
and many more. 
Recently, Greene 
created a work in 
honor of the 
movie Hidden 
Figures, which 
his company 
Greene Works 
Project performed 
for Academy 
actress Octavia 
Spencer. Mr. 
Greene is the 
founder, CEO and 
artistic director of 
The Greene Works 
Project and 
program manager 
for Tri-C Creative 
Arts Dance Academy.  
When and how did you 
first discover dance 
and decide it would be 
your life’s work?
I discovered dance 
when my boxing coach 
suggested that I take 
ballet to help with 
coordination. He was 
just kidding, but I took 
it literally. I ended up 
liking dance more than 
boxing and decided to 
stay in it.  
What have been 
some highlights of 
your professional 
dance career? Both 
as a performer and 
One of the highlights for 
me as a professional 
would be dancing as 
a principal dancer 
with Dayton 
Contemporary Dance 
Company (DCDC), 
touring to Moscow, 
Russia and dancing on 
the famous stage 
where the Kirov Ballet 

What made you decide to become an instructor? What particular satisfaction does it give you?
I wanted to come back to my community and make a difference and bring excellence to my city. I wanted to sew into the young people all the knowledge that was sent into me throughout extensive my career. I get unspeakable joy from teaching, but most of all, it gives me life!

What inspired you to found The Greene Works Project? 

There were no black repertory companies enriched in the black tradition left in Ohio besides DCDC. It was very much needed in Cleveland. I heard about the CPAC Creative Arts Workforce Fellowship grant for choreographers that would award $20,000, and I was blessed to receive that award in 2014.  

What are you looking forward to while you work with Deeply Rooted in Chicago this summer?

First and foremost I want to be a blessing for a blessing which will instill love, kindness, care, stability, dedication, friendship and excellence!

Don't miss Deeply Rooted Dance Theater's Summer Dance Intensive
and Emerging Choreographers Showcase performances

Friday, July 19 and Saturday, July 20 at 7 p.m. at
the Reva and David Logan Center for the Performing Arts,
915 E. 60th Street, Chicago. 

A reception follows the July 20 performance.
Tickets are $25; a VIP ticket of $150
provides additional support for these programs.

Tickets are available at